Murerwa joked it was better to be Minister of Education than Finance


0

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa joked four days before his demotion that he preferred to become Minister of Education, Sports and Culture than Minister of Finance so that he could at least visit all the country’s golf courses.

Murerwa was speaking to United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald whom he told that Zimbabwe’s top priority was to address the country’s severe economic problems.

Murerwa said the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had lost ground to the Movement for Democratic Change in the June 2000 parliamentary elections because it was no longer addressing bread and butter issues.

He said the MDC’s success was due to a protest vote.

Murerwa was certain that he was going to lose his job as Finance Minister as rumours were rife that the post would go to Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe managing director Gideon Gono to reward him for his tireless efforts to raise funds for fuel for the country.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE3637, AMBASSADOR CALLS ON FINANCE MINISTER MURERWA AND HEARS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE3637

2000-07-05 13:00

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051300Z Jul 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7156

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03637 01 OF 02 051257Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 INL-01   DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00

SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————6A5BB7 051257Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6508

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPTTREAS WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003637

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03637 01 OF 02 051257Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/05

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON FINANCE MINISTER MURERWA AND HEARS

PARTY PLATITUDES ON A TURNAROUND PLAN

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: IN A JULY 3 MEETING WITH THE FINANCE MINISTER,

MURERWA TOLD US THAT HALTING ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC TAILSPIN WAS THE

GOVERNMENT’S NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, IN PART AS A RESPONSE TO THE

STRONG SHOWING OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE RECENT PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS. HE COULD NOT PROVIDE US SPECIFICS ON HOW THIS WOULD BE

CARRIED OUT. HE ALSO TOLD US THAT WHETHER HE WOULD STAY ON AS

FINANCE MINISTER WAS STILL IN THE AIR, AND APPEARED TO US TO BE

READY FOR A CHANGE IN DUTIES. HE LAMENTED THE RECENT ELECTION

VIOLENCE, AND MOUTHED THE PARTY LINE THAT THE WHITE FARMERS COERCED

THEIR WORKERS TO SUPPORT THE MDC. AT THE HEAD OF FINANCE, IT MAY BE

TIME FOR A CHANGE. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) IN A CALL ON FINANCE MINISTER HERBERT MURERWA ON JULY 3,

ACCOMPANIED BY ECON/COMM CHIEF AND POLOFF, THE AMBASSADOR WAS

ADVISED THAT ADDRESSING ZIMBABWE’S SEVERE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS WILL BE

THE GOVERNMENT’S NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE MDC’S

STRONG SHOWING IN THE JUST COMPLETED PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS WAS DUE

TO THE ELECTORATES BAD ECONOMIC PLIGHT, THE MINISTER STATED THAT THE

RULING PARTY KNEW THAT “BREAD AND BUTTER ISSUES” ARE PARAMOUNT.

“THE PARTY PERFORMED POORLY”, MURERWA TOLD US, “BECAUSE OF THE

PROTEST VOTE AND, ESPECIALLY IN MATABELELAND, BECAUSE THE OPPOSITION

HAD ENCOURAGED AN ETHNIC SPLIT”, A DEVELOPMENT THE MINISTER

LAMENTED. THE MINISTER WARNED AGAINST THE DANGERS OF FANNING ETHNIC

TENSIONS IN ZIMBABWE, AND IMPLIED THAT THE RULING PARTY WOULD NOT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03637 01 OF 02 051257Z

TOLERATE ANY SUCH ACTIONS FROM THE NEW OPPOSITION PARTY. MURERWA

PROCLAIMED THE SAVING GRACES OF THE LONG-STALLED “MILLENIUM ECONOMIC

RECOVERY PROGRAM”, DECLARING THAT IT WOULD “TACKLE THE ROOT CAUSES

OF INFLATION, CREATE A BETTER ENVIRONMENT FOR FOREIGN DIRECT

INVESTMENT, RESOLVE THE LAND ISSUE ONCE AND FOR ALL, AND FULFILL THE

GOVERNMENT’S GOAL OF CREATING JOBS IN THE URBAN AREAS, ETCETERA,

ETCETERA.” LIKE THE PLAN ITSELF, THE MINISTER WAS MUM ON JUST HOW

THESE ADMIRABLE GOALS WOULD BE ATTAINED. WHEN THE POLITICAL OFFICER

QUESTIONED IF THE GOZ HAD THE ASSETS AND RESOURCES TO EXECUTE AN

AMBITIOUS LAND PROGRAM AND URBAN JOBS PROGRAM AT THE SAME TIME, THE

FINANCE MINSTER BEAMED AT US AND DODGED THE QUERY.

 

————————————

WILL HE STAY ON AS FINANCE MINISTER?

————————————

 

3. (C) ON THE MATTER OF HIS POSSIBLE REAPPOINTMENT, MURERWA WAS

EXTREMELY CIRCUMSPECT. (COMMENT: IN RECENT DAYS THE RUMOR MILL HAS

PLACED GIDEON GONO, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE COMMERCIAL BANK OF

ZIMBABWE, AT THE HEAD OF THE SUCCESSION LIST; THOUGH THE JOB’S VALUE

AS A REWARD FOR GONO’S TIRELESS EFFORTS TO SECURE FINANCING FOR THE

COUNTRY’S FUEL IMPORTS CAN BE QUESTIONED. THIS IS BECAUSE THE NEXT

FINANCE MINISTER WILL FACE THE DAUNTING TASK OF HAVING TO PULL

ZIMBABWE OUT OF A VERY DEEP ECONOMIC HOLE, WITH INFLATION, A SEVERE

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS IMBALANCE AND A RUNAWAY BUDGET DEFICIT AS THE

BIGGEST NEAR-TERM CHALLENGES. END COMMENT.) MURERWA JOKED THAT

PERHAPS BECOMING THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SPORTS AND CULTURE WOULD

BE PREFERABLE, AS THEN HE COULD AT LEAST VISIT ALL THE COUNTRY’S

GOLF COURSES.

 

—————-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03637 01 OF 02 051257Z

THE PATH FORWARD

—————-

 

4. (C) ON A MORE SERIOUS POLITICAL NOTE, THE MINISTER DECLARED THAT

IT WAS TIME FOR HIS COUNTRY TO HEAL ITS WOUNDS AND MOVE FORWARD.

THE HISTORIC LAND INEQUALITY ISSUE HAD TO BE SOLVED, AND ZIMBABWE

PUT BACK ON THE PATH TO GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. THE AMBASSADOR MADE

THE POINT THAT THE UNITED STATES COULD HELP ZIMBABWE DEAL WITH ITS

ECONOMIC MISTAKES, BUT THE GOVERNMENT’S HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS

INFLICTED ON ITS OWN PEOPLE WERE NOT ACCEPTABLE. THE ECON OFFICER

ALERTED THE MINISTER TO THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF THE AFRICAN

GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT (AGOA), STATING THAT HUMAN AND DEMOCRATIC

RIGHTS ISSUES, RATHER THAN MARKET AND OPERATING ENVIRONMENT ISSUES,

WERE NOW MORE PROBLEMATIC FOR ZIMBABWE. THE MINISTER ASSURED US

THAT ENHANCING RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES WAS A TOP PRIORITY

OF HIS GOVERNMENT, AND PROMISED POSITIVE STEPS TO DECISIVELY QUALIFY

FOR THE BENEFITS OF THE AGOA. (NOTE: THE MINISTER WAS SURPRISINGLY

UNINFORMED ABOUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE AGOA DEADLINES, ALTHOUGH HE

RESPONDED TO ECON/COMM CHIEF’S POINTS ON THE NEED TO ACT QUICKLY TO

ENSURE THAT ZIMBABWE QUALIFIES THIS FISCAL YEAR. END NOTE) ON THE

DETAILS OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAM HE TOLD US WE WOULD HAVE TO TALK

WITH VICE PRESIDENT MSIKA AND THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE. HE

FLATLY STATED THAT A DECISION ON DEVALUATION WOULD HAVE TO AWAIT THE

APPOINTMENT OF A NEW CABINET, WHICH HE EXPECTED TO CONTAIN ABOUT

HALF NEW FACES. THE MINISTER CLOSED BY ASSURING US THAT A

TURNAROUND WAS LOOMING, THOUGH HIS TESTIMONY DELIVERED WITH

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7965

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03637 02 OF 02 051541Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 INL-01   DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00

SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————6A743F 051541Z /45

P 051300Z JUL 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6509

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPTTREAS WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003637

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03637 02 OF 02 051541Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/05

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON FINANCE MINISTER MURERWA AND HEARS

PARTY PLATITUDES ON A TURNAROUND PLAN

 

CHARACTERISTIC BONHOMIE, DID NOT SUFFICE TO MAKE US TRUE BELIEVERS.

 

——————

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

——————

 

5. (C) THE MINISTER SAID THE COUNTRY NEEDED TO MOVE FORWARD, AFTER

ITS RECENT ELECTION SEASON VIOLENCE, AND FOCUS NOW ON ECONOMIC

RECOVERY. HE DOWNPLAYED, HOWEVER, THE DEGREE OF VIOLENCE ZIMBABWE

JUST EXPERIENCED, NOTING THAT SOUTH AFRICA HAS MORE VIOLENCE ON A

DAILY BASIS THAN ZIMBABWE HAD DURING ITS ELECTION PERIOD. HE

CONCEDED THAT THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANNGE IS A “NATIONAL

PARTY” AND HOPED THAT IT WILL WORK WITH THE RULING PARTY TO ADDRESS

THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) MURERWA APPEARED TIRED BUT RESIGNED AND NOT QUITE SURE OF

WHERE HE SHOULD HANG HIS HAT AS THE NEWLY REELECTED MP FOR

GOROMONZI. THAT HIS BATTERIES ARE LOW IS NO SURPRISE, AND ALTHOUGH

ONE OF THE MORE DECENT MINISTERS, A NEW FACE IN HIS CHAIR WOULD BE

WELCOME BY US; PROVIDED THE PERSON IS COMPETENT, OPEN-MARKET

ORIENTED, AND NOT MERELY A SYCOPHANT OF THE POLITBURO OR PRESIDENT.

END COMMENT.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03637 02 OF 02 051541Z

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(8 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *